Original French 2nd Empire Cavalry Cuirass Set

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Set Available. The cavalry have used armor for since ancient Greek and Roman times. In Europe in the Middle Ages full suits were used by the nobility and from the Tudor period of the 16th Century Breast and Back Plates, known as Cuirasses, were in continual use right up to the era of Napoleon III. Even today ceremonial wear includes such half armor on members of the British Household Cavalry.

Here we have French half armor, as was used during the Napoleonic Wars and famously featured during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. This particular set was made after 1860 and was the style was used through the 2nd Empire under Napoleon III and into WWI.

Modern military tactics have obsoleted both the use of this sort of body armor and of horses so these have been relegated to history. The front plate much heavier than the back plate this set comes with its brass ring and leather shoulder straps connecting the rear and front plates.

Neither plate has visible markings due to oxidation, wear and age, but both are genuine and in nice display condition.

Cuirassiers were cavalry equipped with cuirass armour and firearms, first appearing in late 15th-century Europe. The first cuirassiers were produced as a result of armoured cavalry, such as the men-at-arms and demi-lancers, discarding their lances and adopting the use of pistols as their primary weapon. In the later 17th century, the cuirassier lost his limb armour and subsequently employed only the cuirass (breastplate and backplate), and sometimes a helmet. By this time, the sword or sabre had become their primary weapon, pistols being relegated to a secondary function.

Cuirassiers achieved increased prominence during the Napoleonic Wars and were last fielded in the opening stages of World War I. Cuirassiers continue to be employed as ceremonial troops by a number of countries. The French term means "one with a cuirass" (cuirasse), the breastplate armour which they wore.
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